10 things you should discuss with your partner before you have a baby (& 2nd trimester yoga class)

before you have a baby

When we first fall pregnant, there feels like an overwhelming number of things we need to buy and do to prepare for the baby. 

Cot, pram, clothes, nappies, car seat, etc.  Adding to that list are all the things we need to do. Antenatal classes, hypnobirthing, pregnancy yoga, organise maternity leave, etc.

We focus on these things because they are concrete and practical. They are straightforward things that we can actually tick off our list. 

But what about how you prepare your relationship for having a baby?  And is that even possible?  

I’ve written about it before, but having a baby puts a huge strain on even the strongest of relationships. It literally turns your life upside down.  For us, the strain resulted in a temporary separation when our first was about 16 months.  

While obviously you can’t predict all the areas a baby will create conflict in for your relationship, I wish I’d at least thought about the following questions. Even better still if we’d actually had a conversation about these things so we knew where each other stood and could discuss them before the irrationality of sleep deprivation kicked in. 

*If you’re just here for the yoga class you can scroll to the end. Though I 100% recommend giving these questions some consideration once you’re done.  Try journalling on them after the physical yoga practice.

10 things you should discuss with your partner before you have a baby

1.What do you imagine day to day life will look like with a baby ?

This question is handy to check each of your (probably unrealistic) expectations for what day to day life with a baby will look like. It’s much better to know this now, before you’re trying to explain yourself over the scream of your newborn baby.

2. How will you manage your time to make sure each person gets time alone even in the early days? 

Oh how I wish I’d even thought of this question when I was first pregnant. Instead I spent far too long trying to squeeze all the things I wanted to do into 40 minute cat naps – meanwhile my husband just waltzed in and out as he had always done.

While it infuriated me at the time, all it took was a conversation for him to realise why I was going so crazy and to give me some time out to do what I needed for me.

3. Who will get up to the baby in the night?

It may seem obvious but don’t take it for granted that it necessarily has to always be the ‘non-working’ parent who does this. Who has the harder job? Going to work or keeping a small person alive? Maybe don’t answer that.

4. Who will get up with the baby first thing in the morning?

While you’re already on the topic of negotiating more sleep, you should probably also tackle this one as well. Is one of you already an early riser? Can they swap their usual gym session to walk with the baby in a carrier instead so the other person sleeps in? Maybe you take it day about so you each get a little extra sleep every second day.

5. How will household chores be divided once you have a baby?

Unless you talk about this topic I think it’s really easy to just to fall back into typical gender roles. We literally just slip back into what saw our parents doing. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fine, as long as that works for both of you. If it doesn’t – now is the time to talk about it.

6. How will you manage finances once the baby arrives?  Are you cutting down to one salary? How long will you have maternity leave for?  What will you do after maternity leave ends?

So I’m kinda cheating here I know. Four questions in one but they’re all so important. Especially if one of you typically manages the money which I think is pretty normal in most couples. If you’re not on the same page, it’s going to end in fights so get clear on where you’re going now before the stress of this situation arrives.

7. What things do you anticipate you’ll have to give up once you have a baby? For how long? 

So I realise this question is a little vague and I do wonder whether I would have been able to answer it when I was pregnant for the first time. In all honesty, I probably would have said ‘nothing’ because I was the overly-optimistic first time Mama type.

In hindsight, I wish I’d realised that for most of that first year I was giving up almost all activities that made me feel like me. If I’d known this and we’d had a conversation about it, I think I would have managed the resentment I felt about it a little better.

8. Who do you have around you for support once the baby arrives? How can they help out?

Don’t underestimate the power of having help on hand when you’ve got a new baby. Whether that’s a doting grandparent, a friend or a paid babysitter. If you’re not close to relatives or have no one to call on, please know that just ‘having time out’ is a legitimate reason to hire a babysitter. You don’t have to be going to work, or doing anything ‘worthwhile’ to justify it.

9. How will you manage to have time alone as a couple once the baby arrives? When will that happen? How will it happen?

I never even thought about this pre-baby. Even after said baby arrived, we saw each other all the time, but there was no actual time to connect as a couple. Instead all conversations were about how little sleep we were getting and what the latest dirty nappy looked like. Trust me, take the time to organise how you will still have time to see each other as partners once the baby arrives. You’ll both be so much happier for it.

10. How do you think your sex life will change after having a baby? How can you show intimacy, love and stay connected for the time that sex is off the table?

Regardless of how you give birth there is going to be a period of recovery. Actually even if you don’t give birth, life with a newborn does not usually equal much sleep and therefore sex is likely to be the last thing you feel like doing. How are you going to stay physically connected during this time that may or may not last for weeks, or months? What is important to each of you?

So that’s it. Whilst I realise you may struggle to answer some of these questions before you have a baby, just having these topics on your radar is probably going to be helpful.

Keeping your relationship strong once a bub arrives is hard work, but it’s definitely not impossible. You just need to be prepared to have difficult conversations and muddle your way through it.

What do you wish you’d discussed with your partner before having children?

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